The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on April 1, 2012

  • Can bike lanes create new jobs?
    The answer seems to be yes — at least in the case of Long Beach, California. More than 20 new bicycle-related or bicycle-inspired businesses have opened at last count. I toured some of these business with Charlie Gandy and Melissa Balmer during a recent trip to Long Beach to meet these entrepreneurs, and prospect for locally-sourced goods and services for our conference. Twenty new businesses is a lot, especially in this economy, so you may be skeptical of these numbers (I was); but after meeting some impressive young people, I can assure you that it’s all real.
    There follows a review of the businesses.
    I’d say that my observations in Portland confirm the article. Cycling is another way of bringing “life at 10km per hour” (or slightly more) into streets (vs cars at 50km per hour), which contributes to capturing interest *in* the street.

    tags: jobs economy bicycles cities

  • Yes, much more productive to see both cities and small towns through an economic lens, and to encourage resilience in place and civic engagement.
    “To me, it seemed a little preachy,” he says. “These people who lived in urban areas would come out and tell me how to live, tell me that you shouldn’t enjoy living where you do, you shouldn’t like your job, you shouldn’t feel good about the lifestyle that you’re living because it’s bad, and what we’re doing is good. What you’re doing is dumb and what we’re doing is smart. What you’re doing is sprawl, and what we’re doing is smart growth.”

    (It’s interesting here to pause and ponder if “sprawl” is one of those words that naturally sounds odious – like “phlegm” or “yuck” – or if it has just taken on that connotation as a result of so much sneering).

    Marohn says he has realized over the past decade that he and the New Urbanists are actually often talking about the same thing. The urban experience and the small-town experience have more in common than people think. And they’ve both been distorted by the suburban experiment. The picture looks different. In cities, it looks like an army of surface parking lots has devoured our downtowns. Small towns have also been hallowed out at the core and nipped at their edges by encroaching subdivisions.

    But the effect is the same, Marohn says: an erosion of civic space, which has led to an erosion of the financial viability of communities. And this is the language he uses to talk about planning – the language of economics, of debt and prosperity and gas prices.

    tags: cities atlantic_cities sprawl density

  • Sounds [ahem!] good to me…
    The whole idea here is that we don’t have to accept cities as noisy places, that apartments can be private and roads can be calmer and whole neighborhoods can sound, if not like the countryside, then something more humane.

    “To just accept the status quo is turning our back on innovation and design,” Antonio says, “and why we’re doing this in the first place.”

    tags: cities atlantic_cities noise urban_design

  • Interesting. Co-working working hand-in-hand with disruption?
    It takes more than a few couches, high-speed internet and the espresso maker to compete in coworking.

    For architects, it’s a huge opportunity to bring novel workplace technologies and a livable aesthetic to these dynamic, changeable and often very messy environments. The winner of the Unconference video contest suggests the overarching vibe — energetic community — while tenant needs are listed in articles like PC Magazine’s “10 best” list, which at least shows what geeks favor in coworking.

    tags: architecture coworking

  • This quote/observation is just crazy. My observations of Portland drivers are that (compared to other cities) they are overwhelmingly deferential to bicyclists, and to call Williams “too dangerous” for cyclists strikes me as just plain weird. (Full disclosure: I’m currently living in an apartment that overlooks this bike corridor.) It makes me wonder what people actually want. I’ve noticed that many people here (including younger ones) really fear density (Portland overall is very low density, population-wise), and resist development changes that would “densify” the city. They like the suburban-y feel of these eastside neighborhoods, but want all the goodies that gentrification also would bring. Meanwhile, the racial question in Portland is IMNSHO huge. Every time I’m out and just chat casually with strangers who happen to be African-American, I get the impression they think it’s weird that a white person (female) is talking to them. Why would that be the case, if not for the fact that is *is* unusual? And how sad it is that it’s unusual… Neighborhood sports games (at Unthank Park, of all places) are observably segregated, as I’ve seen: white adults playing some version of softball, while black kids hang out dribbling a basketball in a separate play lot a few yards away. It’s a strange town. So much bs. For example, this:
    “I’m not selling my property, so I don’t give a shit,” says Goldsmith. But while the city help for new businesses has been great, in the hubbub of bikes, cars, and buses, Goldsmith no longer feels safe biking down its main business street. “I love living here, I love being here… but I don’t bike with my kids on Williams anymore—it’s too dangerous.”

    tags: portland race bicycles cities density gentrification

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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